Cover image of the report - Supporting Native Workforce Development - A Guide for Funders

Workforce Matters is excited to announce our newest resource - "Supporting Native Workforce Development - A Guide for Funders." Developed with the support of our Workforce Grantmaking in Native Nations and Communities initiative and advisory committee, the guide helps funders understand how they can:

  • Establish and grow impactful philanthropic partnerships with Native Nation governments, Native nonprofits, tribal colleges and universities, and other Native entities to expand and enhance the quality and accessibility of workforce development services designed by and for Native people; and
  • Support policies designed to expand and strengthen the ability and capacity of – and resources available to – Native workforce development service providers to develop and implement self-determined, effective workforce development solutions.

Learn more and download the guide.

The Workforce Grantmaking in Native Nations and Communities Initiative was initiated after a series of funder-to-funder conversations convened by Workforce Matters and supported by the Northwest Area Foundation starting in late 2021. This group of funders met regularly for a year to deepen its collective informed understanding and strategize about how philanthropy can increase the level and enhance the relevance, adaptability, and impact of its funding commitments in support of workforce development efforts designed by and for Native nations and communities (inclusively referred to as “Indian Country”).

Through an iterative process conducted in direct consultation with leading Indian Country workforce development organizations policy advisors, funders, tribal leaders, and on-the-ground practitioners, the group identified five emerging consensus priorities for philanthropic work and investment, on which it plans to take collective action beginning in 2023:

  • Addressing the Specific Capacity Needs of Leading Indian Country Workforce Development Organizations
  • Assessing the Broad Capacity Building Needs of the Indian Country Workforce Development Field
  • Technical Assistance Resource Development and Dissemination for Indian Country Workforce Development Practitioners
  • Investing in and Scaling Native-led Workforce Development Approaches
  • Strengthening Federal and State Workforce Development Policies and Funding that Advance the Consensus Priorities of Native Nations and Organizations 

Workforce Grantmaking in Native Nations and Communities (WGNNC) Advisory Committee Members 

WGNNC is led by an Advisory Committee, which is composed of grantmakers, policy experts, and tribal practitioners and leaders committed to advancing WGNNC's priorities and work. Advisory Committee members will assist in developing the learning priorities, programs, and grantmaking of the initiative.

The current Advisory Committee members are:

  • Bernadette Panteah, Zuni Pueblo
  • Courtenay Barton, AllState Foundation
  • Cynthia Lindquist, Spirit Lake Dakota Nation
  • Danielle Vetter, MetLife
  • Christianne Lind, Northwest Area Foundation
  • Kelly Drummer, Migizi Communications (Oglala Sioux Tribe)
  • Kelly Miyamura, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation
  • Kirstin Yeado, Ascendium Education Group
  • Kwelin Waller, American Institutes for Research
  • Lora Ann Chaisson, United Houma Nation
  • Miguel Cambray, JPMorgan Chase
  • Robert Medeiros, Kamehameha Schools
  • Roberta Roberts, Navajo Tribe
  • Ryan Howard, Bishop Paiute Tribe
  • Loh-Sze Leung, Workforce Matters
  • Ian Record, Consultant
  • Natasha Hale, Consultant

Sign up here to learn more about these efforts. For questions, please reach out to Workforce Matters at

Resources for Workforce Development in Native Nations and Communities

The concept of workforce development varies by cultures. For most Native nations and communities, it is more holistic and collective than it is in non-Native mainstream cultures. In Indian Country, workforce development is about building the human capacities to rebuild Native nations and communities. It is about preserving cultures, languages, and ways of life to ensure prosperity for future generations. This includes a focus on all Native community members, young people to adults.  The links below can help build your knowledge base in this critical sector of work: